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Further Thoughts on the Degeneration of Market Socialism: A Reply to Schweickart

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2008

N. Scott Arnold
University of Alabama, Birmingham


David Schweickart has challenged a number of claims that are central to my argument that market socialism would probably degenerate into something only nominally distinguishable from capitalism. Chief among these is the claim that competitive pressures would force the workers in a worker-controlled firm to create pay and authority differentials that would make such firms structurally homologous to capitalist firms. Schweickart challenges this on two fronts: He argues that there is no good reason to believe that market forces under market socialism would create the pay and authority differentials characteristic of capitalism. He further argues that certain structural features of market socialism would insure that competition would not be as intense as it is under capitalism. Consequently, even if capitalistically structured firms were more efficient, it would not make much difference, since no sword of Damocles would hang over the heads of those firms whose workers prefer more collectivist methods of control. Let us consider each of these points in turn.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1987

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